“J Christ”

Welcome to Lil Nas X’s heaven: We have uncanny pop star impersonators, human stew, and one-on-one basketball with the Devil. With a piano-forward beat akin to Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE,” the rapper’s new single “J Christ” is a sibling to the brassy and braggadocious “Industry Baby.” Lil Nas X poses a series of open-ended questions from the perspective of his fans and skeptics: Is he plotting something? Will he give the internet a new meme? Will he hit a high note? (Spoiler: He will.) But like fellow provocateur Doja Cat’s recent music, “J Christ” fails in part because it aims to alienate his already flagrant critics, rather than to welcome new converts. Sure, Lil Nas X is going to piss off a bunch of Christians by positing himself as Jesus, but where does that leave those of us who want to see him as more than just an instigator?